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The Information Is Not Secure

If the government can’t secure their own documents that are now freely published on Wikilinks, what’s to say the same won’t happen to the nude photos they’re taking of us at the airports?

There are three news items or events that have happened with in the past few weeks that are overlapping and should be a cause for concern.

First – Airport security suddenly became tighter. No matter where you are in the country today you could not get away from the news about the Transportation Security Administration’s new procedures at airports. You have a choice; body scanner, pat-down, or don’t fly at all.

Either go through the new body scanners that will show a nude picture on a monitor that will be viewed by someone else who isn’t your spouse, your doctor, or your parents. Or you get felt up by one of the same strangers who would have had the privilege to see you “naked” through the aforementioned body scanners, the TSA agent will touch your breasts and genitals wearing the same blue surgical gloves as those they wore searching the people ahead of you.

Or, you just don’t fly. That’s it.

Department Of Homeland SecurityThere was some outrage at first, people making protests on-line demanding that people “opt-out” of the body scanners and demand the pat downs causing such a slowdown that TSA will scream “uncle” and allow people to board planes after reverting back to the prior screening techniques of metal-detector wands and X-Raying our carry-on luggage and laptop bags. The protest died down pretty quick as people sighed and said “get on with it” before getting on the planes to their destinations. Many of us sigh… it’s just not worth it. “I would rather get felt-up by a stranger or allow them to see my nude body via a new scanner rather than not get to where I need to go.” That’s the new attitude.

Someone also said that they would accept these privacy violations knowing that everyone else is going through the same thing, so we all share the same humiliation and secure in the knowledge that nobody else is wearing a bomb underneath their clothes. Some are willing to give up a little liberty for a little security.

There’s no reading of your Miranda Rights, there’s no permission being asked. You’re not even told why they need to do this, we’re not informed of the imminent threat they think exists that justifies their having to do this. They just violate the 4th and 14th Amendments that cover unlawful search and seizure, but that’s OK, they’re doing it for our “Safety.”

Except I heard that these new scanner don’t detect some chemical bombs that were worn by terrorists in the past. People are giving up real liberty for the illusion of security, it seems.

Department Of Homeland SecuritySecond news item – Department Of Homeland Security and The Justice Department simply seized web domains for copyright infringements. That’s it. They just took down these websites for violating copyright laws. Most of these websites sold stolen material for others to either buy or download for free. That’s what they tell us, anyway. I’m sure that for the most part that’s true, they did take down websites that were selling or giving away other people’s intellectual property, but were there any websites that were taken down “just because” the Government felt like it?

There’s no reading of your Miranda Rights, there’s no permission being asked. You’re not even told why they need to do this, we’re not informed of the imminent threat they think exists that justifies their having to do this. They just violate the 4th and 14th Amendments that cover unlawful search and seizure, but that’s OK, they’re doing it for our “Safety.”

WikileaksWhich brings me to Wikileaks, a website that’s posted stolen documents that were borrowed by a former Army private. The diplomatic cables that have been reprinted have been further damaging to the government’s reputation elsewhere in the world. The most damaging story to come out so far is that of Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton instructing our diplomats at The United Nations to spy on delegates and representatives from other countries; steal their credit card and frequent flyer information.

Where these three stories and others overlap this week is the cause of real concern, and they all pertain to information.

We’re told that the pictures taken of us via the new scanners at the airports are secure, right? We’re told that they are used for the sole purpose of making sure that the passengers are safe, that none of them (or none of us) are wearing any explosives. What “Wikileaks” has proven is that’s false; no information is secure. As I’m writing this I was reading a news story titled "Clinton probed Argentine leader's 'nerves,' 'anxiety,' 'stress," Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010, yesterday I read about how the United States discovered that China has been trafficking nuclear arms material from North Korea to Iran, and that Yemen said it would take responsibility if the United States bombed Iran’s nuclear facitities because the countries surrounding that country are just as afraid as we are of Tehran’s saber-rattling. There are tons of stories that are being posted everywhere else on the internet about these documents leaked to the government, manna from heaven for everyone in the mainstream media to bloggers.

All this because sensitive information that was supposed to remain secret is now published with reckless abandon. We all know what we’ve suspected all along – that our government is capable of saying and doing horrible things in the name of security.

And what are they doing now in that same name?

The information that the government is gathering about other world leaders is not secure. If a simple private in the United States Army can take this information and have someone else republish it on the internet for the rest of the world to see, then who's to say that the pictures taken of you in these “porno-scanners” at the airports are, too. That also means that any information about you that’s on-line is also unsecure, from the books and movies you buy on-line your web browsing history, your e-mails. Everything you do digitally is up for grabs.

The answer to these threats? What they’ve done before, either seizing the domains or doing a “DOS” (Denial Of Service) attack that has already been proven successful against Wikilinks for brief periods of time. I can sit here and make the argument that for that one instance that’s the right thing to do, this is one time the First Amendment should be curbed or suspended for this one group who is responsible for a dire breach of protocol and security.

But where does that end? This rant is being read by someone in my senator’s office, either in Washington or here in New Hampshire. I’m sure that someone in either of those offices could make the argument that I’m an advocate for political dissent for simply saying, “Don’t trust the media, don’t trust the government. Don’t take anything they say for granted, do your own research and fact finding.” I also say you should follow your politicians religiously, set up your google news alerts with their names, follow them on Twitter and Facebook. I’m sure that could be perverted into a claim that I’m “stalking them.” Just like Keith Halloran has claimed before.

Then there will be friends, family, and neighbors who will line up behind my detractors and say “Well, this is a bad thing – but I would rather the government take extraordinary precautions and make sure all websites on the internet is safe. What’s the suspension or loss of The Fedora Chronicles in the short run when we’re talking about the safety and security everywhere?” These are also the same people who claimed that the Patriot Act was unconstitutional under George W. Bush.

If the government put a policy in place to see your naked body on a monitor screen at the airport, or touch your wife, daughter, son, parents, and you in inappropriate places on your body while at the airport, who’s to know what’s next? Who’s to say that the Department of Homeland Security won’t walk right through my door now and sit at my desk and go through all of my files? Who’s to say that they won’t have a finger on the “delete” key saying “You don’t need to be writing about this” and “you don’t need to be saying that.”

If they’ve granted themselves the power to take down websites for hosting or selling contraband intellectual property, then what’s to stop them from taking down websites that are the voices of dissent without a warrant or due process?

Who is going to stop them? Who is to say they won’t give themselves the authority to do so right now, remotely?